William R. “Lanky” Dawson II, 82

William R. “Lanky” Dawson II
William R. “Lanky” Dawson II

William R. “Lanky” Dawson II, 82, of Oswego, NY, passed away Monday at Oswego Hospital after a brief illness. Born in Oswego, Bill was the son of William Raymond “Ray” Dawson, Sr. and Ruth Larkin. Bill was the Manager of Project Engineers at Nestles, retiring after 34 years.

Bill was recognized as the premier athlete of Oswego, having a career that spanned over 60 years. His father, Ray, served as the city’s first recreation director organizing Dawson’s Radio softball team. Bill played on this adult team at the age of 14 and went on to play on many championship Class A fast pitch teams for over 50 years, both in Oswego and Fulton, playing mostly third base. He had the distinction of getting the first hit – a home run – under the newly installed lights at Fort Ontario. When Eddie Feigner of the King and His Court came to the Fort, Bill hit 2 home runs off him before being struck out. Bill is a charter member of the Softball Hall of Fame and the recipient of the Quarter Century Star Athletic Award. Because his careers spanned so many years, Bill and his son Billy played on the same championship softball team.

Bill graduated from Oswego High School where he lettered in baseball, basketball and football. A WWII veteran, he joined the Navy as part of the V-5 program where he was part of Operation Magic Carpet that brought our servicemen home from the Pacific Theater. Honorably discharged in 1946, Bill took a shot at professional baseball as a pitcher in the Class C Border Baseball League for 3 years. He returned to Oswego where he continued to play baseball for the Hannibal State League team well into his forties. In the winter season, he played on up to 3 Class A basketball teams. Late in his career, Bill earned many gold medals in the Basketball Senior Games.

Bill also was an avid fisherman and hunter. He and his wife, Mary Lou owned a home in the Thousand Islands where they enjoyed boating and fishing for 30 years and he enjoyed many fishing trips to the Arctic Circle. He was a hunter for over 60 years.

Bill is survived by his wife, Mary “Lou” DeMent, his daughters Shelley Smith of Camillus, Marcia Dawson of Waterford, and a son William R. Dawson III of Oswego. He has 6 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Bill is predeceased by a brother, Gerald Dawson, a former State Trooper. Of all his achievements, Bill most enjoyed the time spent at the home he built for his family and later playing one-on-one basketball with his granddaughter, Audra, or teaching his young grandson Mike, now an Iraqi war veteran, to shoot a gun.

Funeral Services will be held 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Paul’s Church, Oswego.

Burial will be in St. Peters Cemetery.

Calling hours will be held 4-7 p.m. Wednesday at the Nelson Funeral Home, 11 W. Albany St., Oswego.

Donations can be made to Save the River, 409 Riverside Drive, Clayton, NY 13624 an organization dedicated to preserving the St. Lawrence River that he so loved.

Online condolences may be made at www.nelson-funeralhome.com

1 Comment

  1. Mary Lou and Children, Butch and I were so sad to hear of Bill’s passing. What good times we used to have. Between Nestle parties and softball, and basketball it seems you were
    always part of our lives. My best memory of Bill was talking me in to having a grass hopper at the Dubois one night when we were all there. He told me I’d love it..and I did. It was the first time he ever really talked to me. I remember coming to your house for parties and seeing the two of you everyplace we went in Oswego…How we will miss that…We are thinking of you and you are in our hearts forever. Suzie and Butch Place.

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